Johan Santana reported feeling fine during a weekend bullpen session after leaving Thursday’s start with a strained pectoral muscle, but the Mets have decided to skip his turn in the rotation tomorrow anyway.
Dillon Gee will instead make his MLB debut against the Nationals, but Santana made it very clear he could pitch if, say, the Mets weren’t completely out of contention:
I wanted to go out and pitch. I could go, but they said no. If this was a different situation, no question, I’d be pitching. I know what pain feels like–believe me–and this is not even close to what it was back [when he pitched through a knee injury in 2008]. But I understand they want to be very careful. If that’s the right thing to do, then we’ll do it.
Between the Mets’ poor season and his underwhelming 11-9 record Santana’s outstanding performance has generally been overlooked. He’s thrown the fourth-most innings in the league with 199 and ranks 10th with a 2.98 ERA, but has gotten stuck with a no-decision six times while allowing zero or one run.
The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.
Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.
While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.